Texas electric customers are being urged to be vigilant when it comes to watching their bills and contract, to make sure they aren't rolled over onto a higher variable rate at the end of a term contract, or get subjected to large monthly swings in their variable rate without notice. Horror stories include rates jumping from 12¢ to 19¢, and bills spiking from $98 to $360.
The problems are one of the many reasons it pays to shop for electricity with an expert like SaveOnEnergy.com, who can not only find you a cheap electricity rate, but help you determine when your contract expires, and ensure a smooth transition onto a new, low fixed rate without any nasty surprises.
As previously noted, the Texas Public Utility Commission is working to change the market rules so that customers receive standard notices about their contract expirations, so they don't get pushed onto higher prices. However, as things stand now, what happens when a customer ends a contract can vary by electric company. The better electric providers notify customers on their bills and through separate mailings, warning them about contract expiration, and typically offering a new rate. However, even these messages can be overlooked (when on a bill), or thrown out as junk mail (when sent separately). Other electric suppliers only send customers emails (to an address which may be out of date), or do not provide any notice at all, because they believe the original contract, which enumerated provisions for what happens at the end of the contract term, provided sufficient advanced notice. It all means too many Texans end up paying more than they expect -- and need to -- for electricity when their contract expires, all because they weren't aware it was time to shop again.
Even when customers do their homework and know their contract is about to expire, they still sometimes fall through the cracks and end up paying higher rates because of the current switching process. Right now, it can take over 45 days to switch an electric provider -- meaning if you switch in the final month of your contract, you might "miss" your switch, and roll over onto an expensive product even though you did your homework. The Public Utility Commission is working to make the switching process faster (to just a few days), and advanced meters will soon make switching almost instantaneous.
Complicating matters is that even electric companies aren't sure when contracts sometimes end, which makes it nearly impossible for customers to be certain about switching at the correct time. The reason is, while a customer contract is signed on a certain date, it actually starts on a customer's scheduled "meter read" by their local utility, which is when switches normally occur to coincide with the end of a billing period. While a schedule of meter reads by customer ID number is published for electric companies, it can vary due to the workload of the utilities, emergency work and restoration, and other logistical reasons. That means a customer's contract end date, and date for a new switch, isn't always exactly known.
Customers can avoid any potential rate hikes, and the hassle of finding a new electric provider, by using an expert like SaveOnEnergy.com to find the best electric rate. SaveOnEnergy.com can make sure a customer's switch is timed exactly at the end of a contract term, so customers don't end up paying higher rates, while also avoiding any possible fees for early termination. The energy experts at SaveOnEnergy.com screen all their recommended suppliers to weed out any fly-by-night companies, ensuring customers only buy from stable, financially sound electric companies. Using SaveOnEnergy.com to help you navigate the complex electricity market not only ensures you get the cheapest rate possible, but can make sure you don't get any other nasty surprises along the way.